State-run banks, insurers in recast rush

Written by Sitanshu Swain | Kumud Das | Mumbai, Aug 27 | Updated: Aug 28 2008, 06:20am hrs
Stirred up by competition, state-owned banks and insurers are now rushing to implement new strategies charted out by their consultants to overhaul their operations.

Two Mumbai-based, state-owned financial entities, Union Bank of India and New India Assurance are now currently busy rolling out new business models to refurbish their existing operations.

Both these entities had appointed Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as their consultant some time back. BCG is also devising similar strategies for other state owned insurers Oriental Insurance Company (OIC) and United India Insurance (UII).

We had appointed BCG for restructuring our operations and are formally launching our re-branding exercise, including a change of logo, on September 1, said MV Nair, chairman & managing director, Union Bank.

We are undertaking sweeping changes in the way we have been doing business and BCG is helping us in implanting the new model. The pilot project in our motor portfolio in Mumbai is already on and we are bringing in more radical changes in the next three months touching all aspects of our business, said Bimalendu Chakrabarty, chairman and managing director, New India Assurance. The largest general insurer in Asia, other than Japan, has also appointed TCS to create an IT platform which will serve as a core solution to the insurer, including enabling e-commerce. Union Bank, apart from appointing BCG, has also appointed Mudra Communications for the re-branding exercise.

The bank wants its new logo to reflect its new thrust towards greater customer experience and said the entire exercise will take five months to complete.

Under the project Navnirman, BCG had given a roadmap for leveraging technology for the banks process transformation.

This transformation is aimed at enabling the bank to offer a superior customer experience in the products and services. Some of the recommendations made by the BCG for the exercise include structuring the delivering capability in retail banking and SMEs space, developing sales as well as service concept at branch level for maintaining relationship, marketing and sales capabilities and above all, using the technology for centralization of back-end processes.

Corporate, personal, retail and SMEs will be the four focused business verticals of the bank. We have taken 5000 of our staff through a series of trainings twice by engaging management schools for the same, said Nair.

Moreover, the bank will be opening a 60-seat call centre at its IT centre in Powai area of Mumbai within two months to interface with customers.

The bank, having a customer base of 2.1 crore, is targeting 25 lakh new customers in 2008-09 after revamping its operations.

All the frontline officers have undergone training on how to communicate with the customers, said Nair.

In the first phase of training, the officers have been trained on how to build customer relationships and in the second phase they will receive orientation on how to cross-sell various products of the bank.